Safety of hostages main concern, govt sets up committee: Patil

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New Delhi, Nov 27 (UNI) The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has decided to constitute a Committee to oversee the security requirements of states in view of the terror attacks in Mumbai where anti-terror operations were going on to free hostages, Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil said here today.

Anti-terrorists operations by the NSG commandos were still continuing at three places --Colaba, Taj Hotel and Oberoi Hotel-- in Mumbai and the prime concern of the government was the safety of hostages held by militants, the Home Minister said here, today after attending the Union Cabinet's meeting, which discussed the terror attacks in Mumbai.

Mr Patil, who sent 200 NSG commandos and himself visited Mumbai along with NSG Director J K Dutt last night to oversee the anti-terror operations, said that all out efforts are being made to flush out terrorists, who have attacked with automatic weapons and have held many people hostages. However, safety of hostages was the prime concern for the government, he said, adding one militant has been killed and another apprehended.

Regarding the lack of intelligence inputs regarding this attack, the Home Minister said that some intelligence inputs were there but it was not concrete in terms of place, time and what route terrorists would take whether they would come by land, sea or arial route.

Mr Patil, however, said that he would not like to create any controversy on the issue. Significantly, Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilas Rao Deshmukh said that the state government had not received any intelligence inputs regarding such big terror attack.

The Prime Minister was in constant touch with the Chief Minister and would visit Mumbai within one or two days, Mr Patil informed and said that the central government has plans to set up a Committee, which would look into the security requirments of the states. He said that the centre would give all possible to help states Conveying condolences to the people who have died or were injured in the terror attacks, the Home Minister said that the government was not afraid of them and would give a befitting reply to the terrorists. He said that people of Mumbai are very brave and urged them to unitedly defeat the nefarious designs of the terrorists.

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